Much has been written elsewhere about the misuse of Title VI funding. For those not in the know, Title VI of the Higher Education Act is a controversial program for funding studies of foreign cultures and languages, including the Middle East. A frequent charge against Title VI is that it provides U.S. taxpayer funds for anti-U.S. or anti-Israel propaganda. Jonathan Schanzer of the Jewish Policy Forum points out yet another extremely anti-Israel organization that receives Title VI funds:
The Bethesda, Maryland-based Palestinian American Research Center (PARC), a registered nonprofit, receives controversial Title VI funding from the U.S. State Department and Department of Education for "Palestinian studies." Yet, the organization perpetuates the failures of Middle Eastern studies in America - namely, the admixture of polemics and academia.
...According to PARC's tax returns, the organization has raised more than $550,000 since 2002. It received at least $47,000 in U.S. government funds in 2006.
...[O]ne article penned by a grant recipient named Lori Allen (now a lecturer at University of Cambridge in the U.K.) was a lengthy apologia for Palestinian suicide bombing. Despite some effort to maintain objectivity, Allen explained how Palestinians were expressing "resistance to occupation and sacrificing for that struggle," and how, after the "outbreak of the intifada, Israel has stepped up attacks on civilians . . . stifling Palestinians' hopes for a better future."
...U.S. taxpayers should know that PARC is part of the U.S. Department of Education's system of overseas research centers authorized under Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Under the aegis of the U.S. government, PARC continues to give out grants of $3,000 to $8,000 for activism in the name of academia. Yet a preliminary review of the organization suggests that this is money poorly spent.
This is not the latest case of U.S. taxpayers bankrolling Palestinian radicalism. Joel Mowbray, among others, have shown that USAID funds have made their way to Hamas-linked entities in the West Bank and Gaza. It's quite disturbing that this is happening with another federal program, on U.S. soil.
The case of PARC also raises the issue of sub-grants by recipients of U.S. funds. Frequently there are pro-forma vetting procedures in place that are either implemented too late or simply fail. A case in point is a USAID audit of its aid to several Palestinian organizations, including Islamic University in Gaza and Al Quds University in Jerusalem. The report admitted that "[s]ubawardees were not always vetted," and procedures were updated to address this. However, the competency of the vetting process itself is thrown into question by a another statement:
USAID/West Bank and Gaza arranged to have Al Quds Universiry vetted seven times (most recently in December 2006) and Islamic University in Gaza vetted eight times (most recently in February 2006). None of these vetting requests resulted in derogatory information.
It boggles the mind that a university founded by Ahmed Yassin (the founder of Hamas) can be vetted eight times and get a clean bill of health. This episode says more about the U.S. Government's vetting standards regarding terrorist links than about the vetting target itself. This should be a cautionary lesson when examining Title VI funding - a lesson the PARC case shows we are not learning.